Granted that the government is beset with a financial crisis and it needs more than a shot in the arm to bring the economy back on the track but there are two things that are troubling. One, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf as a party has been against the amnesty schemes. Two, it was opposed to the idea of legislation through ordinances bypassing the parliament.
Well, it has taken its proverbial U-turn on both the counts. Not only has it announced a tax amnesty scheme, but it also is taking the short cut to promulgate it much in the same fashion as the previous government did in 2018. In both instances, the parliament stood diminished in stature.
There is more clarity now as to why the parliamentary sessions of the two houses were postponed that were earlier summoned for April 12 and April 15 respectively. The federal cabinet is expected to formally approve the tax amnesty scheme today which shall subsequently be promulgated through a presidential ordinance. All the groundwork is done already.
Opposition in the National Assembly lashed out at the government for postponing the sessions of both houses of the parliament. They said that the prime minister himself has been the biggest critic of ordinances in the past but now has put off the parliament’s session to issue an ordinance. Former opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah said that in the past Imran Khan said that ordinances were promulgated to favour the corrupt but now he is following the same course.
The ruling PTI chairman had rejected the PML-N’s 2018 amnesty scheme, calling it an attempt at saving the criminals. He was of the view that such schemes benefit only the tax evaders, asset concealers and money launderers.
The opposition is also up in arms for having to face – in their view- selective accountability drive. It says this is a ploy by the government to deflect public attention from real issues of bad governance, and its failure to contain the inflationary trends. While the government pursues with nonchalance what it thought in the past was undemocratic and unethical if not unlawful, it should look at its conduct. It is not doing any service to the nation by bypassing the parliament and banking on short-term measures that undermine the sacred parliamentary practices.